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chad2468emr

Went to Leu Gardens... Whats the deal with these "Heat Islands" and where can I get me one of those? (Also, plenty of pics from my visit!)

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chad2468emr

Seeing zone 10b+ palms growing steadily and healthily in the ground just 30 minutes away from where I'm living (south of Kissimmee) is certainly a mind-boggling experience, meanwhile I've already had to bring my C. renda inside once this fall because temps were falling below 55 degrees, but at any rate I had a great time! 

Seriously, though.... how much pavement exactly do I need to create a "heat island" and who do I have to call? (Just kidding.... sort of....) 

See below for some of my favorite pics of palms (and one non-palm) that I was able to grab shots of. Seriously though... they have triostars growing IN-GROUND there, meanwhile I can't stop finding new browned leaf tips on mine (planted in perfect, airy, course, well-draining soil that I obsessively monitor the moisture of) for the life of me....

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CodyORB

There's definitely a lot to learn from the Corona coconut! (NotATA's valuable explanation) Completely surrounded on the ground by concrete on all sides, south facing against a 2-story house with strong shielding from north winds and heat storage/reflection, the cars parked on the driveway storing heat (air circulating beneath the hot engine/components, which is a real stretch), the house's location on a slope that doesn't pool too much cold air, it goes on and on and ON!

What surprised me about Leu is the lack of concrete in the garden and it seems to all be canopy/wind shielding doing the work.

Edited by CodyORB
linked to excellent explanatory post

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kinzyjr

A heat island is usually due to a large urban expanse (typical of large cities).  It doesn't necessarily have to be within 5 feet of the palm in question.  Leu is on the southeast side of a lake, in the middle of a large city (UHI), has gently graded land and has high canopy + dense plantings.  The perfect storm for freeze mitigation.  Most of the Orlando area receives some heat island effect from all of the development.  If memory serves me correct, the airports in Sanford (KSFB), downtown Orlando (KORL), and Orlando International (KMCO) all qualify for "zone 10a" over a 30 year period and a 50 year period, per NOAA data.  @palmsOrl and @Eric in Orlando can describe the area much better than me.

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Fusca
41 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

Leu is on the southeast side of a lake, in the middle of a large city (UHI), has gently graded land and has high canopy + dense plantings.  The perfect storm for freeze mitigation.

And here I thought it was just Disney magic...  :P

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chad2468emr
1 hour ago, Fusca said:

And here I thought it was just Disney magic...  :P

In Kissimmee I’m actually 30 mins SOUTH of LG and maybe 10 mins from Disney and I still can’t get away with having most of what they have in-ground over here. If it does turn out to be Disney magic, I’m gonna have to have a word with someone in charge over there because I got ripped off.... 

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kinzyjr
3 hours ago, Fusca said:

And here I thought it was just Disney magic...  :P

I like your explanation a lot better than mine.  Good marketing, a lot less typing, and come the next 198x freeze - probably more accurate as well :)

1 hour ago, chad2468emr said:

In Kissimmee I’m actually 30 mins SOUTH of LG and maybe 10 mins from Disney and I still can’t get away with having most of what they have in-ground over here. If it does turn out to be Disney magic, I’m gonna have to have a word with someone in charge over there because I got ripped off.... 

There are supposed to be some fruiting coconuts in Kissimmee according to a CFPACS member living in the area.  @CodyORB made a good point about selective siting with the Corona, CA coconut.  Those techniques (canopy, windbreaks, selective siting, etc.) do help a lot in the inland Central Florida cities like Orlando and Kissimmee. 

Another decent microclimate a little closer to you is the International Drive area from Sand Lake to the Convention Center.  The coconut palm at Charley's Steak House, often referred to as the I-Drive coconut, is probably the nicest one in inland Central Florida.

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LouisvillePalmer

This concept of a heat island is relatively novel to me. Glad to learn about it.

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Merlyn2220

I'm not sure how they figure out the zones exactly, but Sanford airport hit 25F around 7AM on 1/18/18.  Orlando MCO airport showed 27F at the same time, and Kissimmee airport had 30F.  That was a pretty unusual blast of cold air just N of Orlando.  I'm not sure what the temps were at Leu Gardens, but I'd guess they dipped just a bit below freezing.  Meanwhile the local nurseries near me looked like someone took a flamethrower to them.  My 35 year old peace lily near the front door was 90% defoliated, but most other stuff was fine.  I'd imagine the heat island helped a lot at Leu, and the canopy helped maintain some reasonable temps that night.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/fl/sanford/KSFB/date/2018-1-18

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kinzyjr
2 minutes ago, Merlyn2220 said:

I'm not sure how they figure out the zones exactly, but Sanford airport hit 25F around 7AM on 1/18/18.  Orlando MCO airport showed 27F at the same time, and Kissimmee airport had 30F.  That was a pretty unusual blast of cold air just N of Orlando.  I'm not sure what the temps were at Leu Gardens, but I'd guess they dipped just a bit below freezing.  Meanwhile the local nurseries near me looked like someone took a flamethrower to them.  My 35 year old peace lily near the front door was 90% defoliated, but most other stuff was fine.  I'd imagine the heat island helped a lot at Leu, and the canopy helped maintain some reasonable temps that night.

https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/fl/sanford/KSFB/date/2018-1-18

Zones are calculated by averaging the annual low temperatures over a period of time, usually 30 years.  If the average is >= 30F and < 35, the area is considered zone 10a for that period of time.  Zones have the same issues as short-time employees - all it takes is one bad day. 

Here's an example using NOAA data for the Orlando International Airport ( https://w2.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=mlb ):

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In the graphic above, the 30 years selected were the most recent 30 full years of data (1990-2019).  The number that determines the zone is the mean of all of the years.  I highlighted it in red.  Obviously, the 24F low in 2010 would kill a lot of zone 10a and 9b plants if they were fully exposed to it. 

The freeze in Jan. 2018 was an advective freeze, so there would be less difference in temperature since it is windy and the air is relatively well mixed + less stratified.  The good thing about an advective freeze is that a windy night doesn't lend itself to frost.  The bad news is that the wind will chill the plant tissue a lot faster.  Canopy tends to help less and windbreaks tend to help more.

The Orlando Executive Airport, relatively close to Leu, recorded 28F on Wunderground: https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/fl/orlando/KORL/date/2018-1-18

Our airport hugs the county line with Hillsborough out in freeze country and recorded 25F: https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/fl/orlando/KLAL/date/2018-1-18

In the Lakeland Highlands, several personal weather stations recorded numbers in the 27.x and 28.x range, with one of the mildest being the Sugarcane station up the big hill near Clubhouse Road at 28.9F.  So even during an advective freeze, there is some benefit to urbanization and elevation/grade.  Concrete is also an excellent wind break in addition to storing heat ;)

Complicating the whole zone calculation is that people in different areas of town can have wildly different temperatures.  I used the freeze of Jan. 2010 as one example in my last post in the Make your own zone map! thread.  Depending on the area of town, you could have had a reading as high as 27F and as low as 16.7F.  That's more than a full zone of different in less than 10 miles.

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Eric in Orlando

Its the urban heat island effect. But also Orlando has all those lakes and tree canopy. Orlando/Winter Park has always had a very warm microclimate. Barring the past killing freezes, 1956-57, 1962, 1983,85,89) zone 10 plants have grown to maturity. But they would get killed or knocked back in those freezes. In the past 30 years the urban heat island has expanded as the Orlando area has become densely developed and paved over. 

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chad2468emr
13 hours ago, kinzyjr said:

Zones have the same issues as short-time employees - all it takes is one bad day. 

Isn’t that just the worst? Haha Even when I lived in SFL there were days that got down to 34°F - 35°F and I know people with hyper-tropical plants that lived for five or so years and they didn’t do so well. 

I couldn’t find a table like yours specific to my zip code, but it looks like in Jan 2010 we only got down to 29°F while in Jan 2018 we saw 27°F:

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Even so, that places me firmly in 9b, but since it’s (kind of) close to zone 10, I probably could get away with some zone 10 plants on a south facing wall, under a canopy, etc. Fairly good to know because the front of my townhome, where I have most of my more cold-sensitive palms, is SW facing and wrapped in other walls + pavement. My palms are all potted given that this is a townhome and I’m renting, so they’ll likely come inside (some of them are HUGE so that’ll be fun) whenever it dips too low anyway. Also, despite being wrapped by the building, my street serves as a wind tunnel half of the time with the way the buildings are arranged on the street and that could do some damage. 

I’ll likely be taking the size of my future homes south-facing wall + whether or not there is a canopy into consideration when making that leap in a year or so, haha. 

Edited by chad2468emr
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Really full garden

I lived in Kissimmee eons ago but remember that St Cloud had a great micro climate. There had been comercial pineapple cultivation there at one time.

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chad2468emr
4 minutes ago, Really full garden said:

I lived in Kissimmee eons ago but remember that St Cloud had a great micro climate. There had been comercial pineapple cultivation there at one time.

I live in Kissimmee by zip code, but I'm actually about 15 or so mins outside of the city in the woods, (closer to poinciana, actually) which is probably something else that makes it hard to know just how much I can get away with, given that most recorded temps historically will have been from the city, where more pavement = warmer microclimate. Sadly no canopy where I'm at, though. But I'm also further south, so basically, I don't know haha.

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Eric in Orlando
1 hour ago, Really full garden said:

I lived in Kissimmee eons ago but remember that St Cloud had a great micro climate. There had been comercial pineapple cultivation there at one time.

In the late 1800s there was a big pineapple plantation near downtown Orlando, on the south and eastern side of Lake Corncord. Right where I-4 and Highway 50/Colonial Dr. is now. I believe the great freeze of 1894-95 wiped it out.

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Merlyn2220
9 hours ago, chad2468emr said:

I’ll likely be taking the size of my future homes south-facing wall + whether or not there is a canopy into consideration when making that leap in a year or so, haha. 

The south-facing wall is definitely a big help!  What also helps is early AM sun in the winter.  Eric mentioned that here a year or so ago.  So for example, if you bought a house on the NW side of a lake or open field you would get early AM sun in the winter.  My yard unfortunately has 60-80' tall oaks on the neighbors to the SE, so most of my yard is shady in the winter until noon.  I don't know how much AM sun helps, but I recall Eric saying that it was noticeable at Leu Gardens after some of the cold fronts.  Plants took less freeze damage if they warmed up really quick when the sun came up.

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RedRabbit

I think @Eric in Orlando deserves most of the credit for these palms surviving. I’ve driven through the warmer neighborhoods of Orlando and they seem consistent with what I’d consider 9b. (I know the averages show it’s 10a, but tropical stuff just isn’t prolific there like it is in St. Pete for example.) I think most of the reason these palms succeed at Leu Gardens is because Eric is very good at palm placement. He knows where to put the cold sensitive stuff for it to have the best chance of surviving and it works. 
 

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chad2468emr
On 11/12/2020 at 5:39 PM, Merlyn2220 said:

The south-facing wall is definitely a big help!  What also helps is early AM sun in the winter.  Eric mentioned that here a year or so ago.  So for example, if you bought a house on the NW side of a lake or open field you would get early AM sun in the winter.  My yard unfortunately has 60-80' tall oaks on the neighbors to the SE, so most of my yard is shady in the winter until noon.  I don't know how much AM sun helps, but I recall Eric saying that it was noticeable at Leu Gardens after some of the cold fronts.  Plants took less freeze damage if they warmed up really quick when the sun came up.

That is good to know! I’m sure my husband will be thrilled when he finds the perfect house and I shoot it down based on the SE facing wall logistics and lack of a canopy, hahaha. 

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